Principal’s Corner: Social-emotional learning important

Published 8:28 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

Principal’s Corner by John Mahal

John Mahal


When students attend Hawthorne Elementary School, they walk into their classrooms with high expectations to complete a lot of academic learning throughout the school year. 

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In addition to academic learning, Hawthorne, along with the other Albert Lea area elementary schools, have been incorporating weekly social-emotional learning opportunities in each classroom to help address various topics or situations our students face on a day-to-day basis. 

Our school counselor, Grace Pfeifer, runs the program and has a chance to meet with each classroom. The Second Step SEL curriculum is research-based, teacher-informed and classroom-tested to promote the social-emotional development, safety and well-being of children from early learning through grade eight.

Various topics that are discussed: bullying prevention, skills for learning, emotion management and problem solving. The curriculum provides age-appropriate games, activities and media to engage students and set our students on a path for lifelong success. 

In continuing to try to prevent bullying from happening in our schools, Second Step’s bullying prevention unit reinforces what we already have in place by working with students in how to recognize, report and refuse bullying. 

As Grace works with each class, she has the opportunity to talk/work with all of our students, and if there is a need to spend extra time on a topic, that is when she follows up with that student(s), as needed, to support them.

We teach our students a great mix of academic skills, along with social-emotional skills, in order to allow our students to feel safe and secure when they attend Hawthorne. This allows them to be able to concentrate on getting the best possible education and set the foundation for what is to come for them in their future.

John Mahal is the principal of Hawthorne Elementary School.